Wednesday, August 22, 2007



September 15: A showdown march from the White House to Congress in Washington DC

North/Central California "End the War Now" March
Saturday, October 27, 2007, 11am, San Francisco Civic Center Plaza

Momentum is building for Oct. 27 and beyond.

Report on last evenings (August 21) steering committee meeting:

Over 50 representatives of groups--labor unions, student groups, religious community, seniors, immigrant community, LGBT community, antiwar and other political groups as well as individuals showed up at the meeting illustrating the broad scope of the Oct. 27 Coalition. The coalition unanimously adopted the slogan, "Bring the Troops Home Now!" in addition to the original demand, "End the War Now!" Flyers for the action were approved and will go into production and be ready for the September 8th mass meeting of the Coalition Saturday, September 8, 10:00 A.M., at 474 Valencia Street.

The September 8th meeting will be a stepping off point for mass distribution of the Oct. 27 flyers and posters. After the meeting people will spread throughout the
Bay Area to start publicizing the action on the streets--getting flyers in people's hands and posters in their windows.

Here is a schedule of coalition meetings coming up:

Saturday, September 8, 10:00 A.M. - Oct. 27 Coalition Mass Meeting
474 Valencia Street, Near 16th Street in San Francisco.

Tuesday, September 11, 6:30 P.M. - Oct. 27 Coalition Steering Committee
(Location to be announced.)

Wednesday, September 12, 7:00pm - Oct. 27 Coalition Youth and Student Organizing Meeting - 2489 Mission St., Rm. 28

Help build for a massive, united march and rally in San Francisco Oct. 27 to End the War NOW.

This action is sponsored by a broad coalition of groups in the Bay Area. A list will be forthcoming—we are all united on this one and, hopefully in the future.

Funds are urgently needed for all the material—posters, flyers, stickers and buttons, etc.—to get the word out! Make your tax-deductible donation to:

Progress Unity Fund/Oct. 27

and mail to:

Oct. 27th Coalition
3288 21st Street, Number 249
San Francisco, CA 94110


In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein

To get more information call or drop into the ANSWER office:

Act Now to Stop War & End Racism


Bay Area United Against War Activists

Save 20% on George Bernard Shaw’s anti-war masterpiece: HEARTBREAK HOUSE
August 31—September 8

Artist, socialist, feminist, anti-war activist, vegetarian, freethinker, street-corner orator, and all-around raconteur, if there’s one man who belongs in Berkeley, it’s George Bernard Shaw. Heartbreak House—his hilarious portrayal of a civilization on the edge of decline—was his response to the actions of World War I. And Berkeley Rep is thrilled to kick off its 40th birthday celebration with a timely take on this comic masterwork.

We’re celebrating our 40th birthday all season long with reduced prices from just $27—and Supporters of Bay Area United Against War save 20% on tickets for available performances August 31—September 8. Plus, save even more when you purchase three or more plays!

Purchase tickets online and use promo code 2746.

Click to learn about “Free Speech” events at the Theatre before your show, more about the play, and details about your discount.


Stop Government Attacks
Against the Anti-War Movement!
Take Action to Defend Free Speech
Free Speech Lawsuit Filed in Washington DC:
$10,000 fine challenged

Free Speech Lawsuit Filed in Washington DC:
$10,000 fine challenged

The ANSWER Coalition today filed a major Free Speech lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia challenging anti-postering regulations that have been used to fine the organization. ANSWER has been hit with $10,000 fines in the last week.

Stepping up its politically targeted harassment campaign, as we were announcing the lawsuit, the government served fines for posters against the landlord of the building housing ANSWER's office. This is an unprecedented campaign against First Amendment speech and associational rights.

The lawsuit was announced at a press conference held today at the offices of constitutional rights attorneys at the Partnership for Civil Justice (PCJ). The lawsuit can be read in its entirety by clicking this link:

The Free Speech lawsuit asserts that:

The challenged regulations create a hierarchy of speech, allowing broad freedom to post on subjects related to elections or crime prevention, but sharply restricting -- and penalizing with massive fines -- those who post on grassroots political issues. The legal challenge arose in response to the issuance of fines against the ANSWER Coalition for $10,000 because that anti-war organization had used posters urging the public to "March to Stop the War" and to attend the national September 15, 2007, march in Washington, called by ANSWER and led by Iraq war veterans.

The press conference was an example of the broad support for the September 15 March on Washington DC which will be led by Iraq war veterans and their families.
In this email you can watch and listen to the presentations of the speakers and the see some of the extensive media coverage of this unfolding fight.
The government's attempt to disrupt the organizing for September 15 has backfired. Support is coming in from all over the country. More than ninety organizing centers are bringing people from their area to Washington DC. Go to


Help Save Kenneth Foster—An Innocent Man on Texas Death Row
Number of Executions by State and Region Since 1976
(Texas tops the list with more than three times the executions than any other State in the U.S. at 398 out of 1,089 total executions. The next highest execution rate is Virginia, with 98; Oklahoma, 85; Missouri, 66; Florida, 64; California is sixteenth on the list at 13 executions since 1976—the most recent being Tookie Williams in 2006.) Get the full stats at:




1) Israel to Get $30 Billion in Military Aid From U.S.
August 17, 2007

2) Watershed
NYT Editorial
August 19, 2007

3) Concerns Raised on Wider Spying Under New Law
August 19, 2007

4) Peru’s Troops Try to Restore Order in Areas Hit by Quake
August 19, 2007

5) Falluja’s Calm Is Seen as Fragile if U.S. Leaves
August 19, 2007

6) It’s a Miserable Life
Op-Ed Columnist
August 20, 2007

7) The Good War, Still to Be Won
"Victory there will now be harder than it needed to be. But it is no less necessary."
NYT Editorial
August 20, 2007

8) Greasing the Wheels on the Machinery of Death
August 20, 2007

9) Immigration Activist Deported
Filed at 12:04 p.m. ET
August 20, 2007

10) Hedge Funds Are Squeezed by Investors and Lenders
August 20, 2007

11) Labor Pact Is Approved by a Union at Delphi
August 20, 2007

12) Debt and Spending May Slow as Housing Falters, Fed Suggests
August 20, 2007

13) War’s Chilling Reality
Op-Ed Columnist
August 21, 2007


1) Israel to Get $30 Billion in Military Aid From U.S.
August 17, 2007

JERUSALEM, Aug. 16 — Israel and the United States signed a deal on Thursday to give Israel $30 billion in military aid over the next decade in what officials called a long-term investment in peace.

The officials insisted that the deal was not dependent on a simultaneous American plan for $20 billion in sales of sophisticated arms to its Arab allies, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia. But Israeli officials acknowledged that the aid to Israel would make it easier for the Bush administration to win Congressional approval of the arms sales to Arab countries.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel has not objected to those arms sales, saying that he understands the United States’ need to support moderate Sunni Arab states that, like Israel, are opposed to Shiite Iran’s reach for regional supremacy and nuclear weapons.

The American under secretary of state for political affairs, R. Nicholas Burns, speaking at the signing ceremony here, said, “There is no question that, from an American point of view, the Middle East is a more dangerous region now even than it was 10 or 20 years ago and that Israel is facing a growing threat” from Iran and its ally, Syria.

The threat, he said, is “immediate and it’s also long term,” and he cited Iran’s support for organizations that the United States classified as terrorist and that were opposed to peace and stability in the region, like Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Palestinian territories and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

The new aid to Israel will average $3 billion a year on a sliding scale, an increase of about 25 percent from current figures, to begin in October 2008. That year, American economic aid to Israel, which has a vibrant, growing economy, is scheduled to end. Uniquely, officials said, the new deal allows Israel to spend 26.3 percent of the aid on arms from Israel’s domestic military industry; the rest of the money must be spent on American equipment.

The Israelis have some specific reservations about what equipment might be sold to Saudi Arabia, however, despite American promises that Israel will keep its “qualitative edge” regionally in military technology.

Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland and the House majority leader, said in an interview on Thursday that “Congress will be supportive of the aid to Israel, but with respect to Saudi Arabia I think we will look at that more closely.” He said there were “specific concerns on guided missile technology that could be used defensively against Israel and that would be problematic.”

Some Israeli politicians have also discussed trying to limit Saudi deployment of new weapons systems to the east of the country, closer to Iran, keeping them away from Israel.

Mr. Burns and the Israeli team, led by the governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer, who holds both American and Israeli citizenship, would not comment on the specifics of the arms deal.

Mr. Fischer said that Israel was grateful for the help, since it had one of the highest defense burdens “in what used to be called the free world,” amounting to 10 percent of gross domestic product.

Mr. Burns said, “This $30 billion in assistance to Israel is to be an investment in peace, in long-term peace — peace cannot be made without strength.”

In Gaza, Hamas, the Islamic group that has taken control there, briefly detained the Palestinian attorney general, Ahmed Mughami, who is allied with Fatah, after he returned to the Gaza Strip to try to prevent Hamas from altering the area’s judicial system. Fatah has ordered the police and other civil servants, including judges, not to work for Hamas in Gaza, and Hamas then said it would set up Islamic courts. Hamas forced Mr. Mughami out of his office at gunpoint in Gaza City. He refused to resign and was released.


2) Watershed
NYT Editorial
August 19, 2007

There are good reasons to hope — and believe — that the Federal Reserve will ably manage the turmoil in the financial markets. Its surprise lending rate cut on Friday and earlier infusions of cash into the banking system show that it is committed to crisis management.

But the Fed’s moves also show that it believes the markets’ problems have become a threat to the broader economy. For that reason, calming the markets should be seen as only a necessary first step toward addressing much bigger issues — issues that President Bush and his aides continue to deny.

The real work — that of leaders, not managers — is to understand how the economy became so vulnerable to current global market instability, and to articulate an agenda for reducing those underlying weaknesses. There is no return to “normal” that would not be the same as sticking one’s head back in the sand.

The bare facts are that the nation — heavily indebted — needs to attract some $800 billion a year from abroad, either by borrowing the money or by selling American assets. No serious analyst believes that an imbalance of that magnitude is sustainable.

In fact, the erosive effects are already evident. Debt must be repaid by sending money abroad, leaving less to invest domestically. Selling off American assets means reduced investment returns to Americans. And that’s if things go smoothly. Ever present is the risk that the vital foreign inflows will wane, with severe repercussions on interest rates and the dollar.

So far, however, the Bush administration has shown no awareness that the current market turmoil is layered on top of deeper vulnerabilities that demand attention. It cannot even see that the current market upheaval calls for new policies. In an interview this week in The Wall Street Journal, the Treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, said that the credit crunch tied to risky mortgage-related investments was “inevitable.” But the credit squeeze is not the work of an invisible hand. It stems from a markets-above-all ideology espoused at the highest levels of government, and resulting regulatory failures in the face of excessive risk taking.

Despite the current turmoil’s clear roots in unbridled risk, Mr. Paulson told The Journal, “there is nothing, in my judgment, that we should be doing to ...restrain risk taking.” He should tell that to the hundreds of thousands of people who will endure foreclosure because of reckless lending, which spawned the risky investments now roiling the markets.

In Mr. Paulson’s world, and President Bush’s, excess and its ruinous consequences are the natural result of market activity, which is itself sacrosanct. So it will fall to Congress and the presidential candidates to put the truly pressing issues on the agenda. The nation badly needs progressive, pro-market leaders who will advance a legal and regulatory framework to reduce excesses in lending and derivatives and to monitor opaque market actors, like hedge funds and private equity firms. The goal must be to avert or at least mitigate crises that otherwise do damage far beyond the immediate investors.

And to succeed in the future, the country must first stop digging the hole it is in. That will require federal budget discipline, especially health care reform and higher taxes.

It will also require higher private savings. And all of that will require leaders who will level with Americans about the depth of the country’s economic problems, including its vulnerability to global turbulence, and the sacrifices it will take to address them.


3) Concerns Raised on Wider Spying Under New Law
August 19, 2007

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 — Broad new surveillance powers approved by Congress this month could allow the Bush administration to conduct spy operations that go well beyond wiretapping to include — without court approval — certain types of physical searches on American soil and the collection of Americans’ business records, Democratic Congressional officials and other experts said.

Administration officials acknowledged that they had heard such concerns from Democrats in Congress recently, and that there was a continuing debate over the meaning of the legislative language. But they said the Democrats were simply raising theoretical questions based on a harsh interpretation of the legislation.

They also emphasized that there would be strict rules in place to minimize the extent to which Americans would be caught up in the surveillance.

The dispute illustrates how lawmakers, in a frenetic, end-of-session scramble, passed legislation they may not have fully understood and may have given the administration more surveillance powers than it sought.

It also offers a case study in how changing a few words in a complex piece of legislation has the potential to fundamentally alter the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a landmark national security law. The new legislation is set to expire in less than six months; two weeks after it was signed into law, there is still heated debate over how much power Congress gave to the president.

“This may give the administration even more authority than people thought,” said David Kris, a former senior Justice Department lawyer in the Bush and Clinton administrations and a co-author of “National Security Investigation and Prosecutions,” a new book on surveillance law.

Several legal experts said that by redefining the meaning of “electronic surveillance,” the new law narrows the types of communications covered in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, by indirectly giving the government the power to use intelligence collection methods far beyond wiretapping that previously required court approval if conducted inside the United States.

These new powers include the collection of business records, physical searches and so-called “trap and trace” operations, analyzing specific calling patterns.

For instance, the legislation would allow the government, under certain circumstances, to demand the business records of an American in Chicago without a warrant if it asserts that the search concerns its surveillance of a person who is in Paris, experts said.

It is possible that some of the changes were the unintended consequences of the rushed legislative process just before this month’s Congressional recess, rather than a purposeful effort by the administration to enhance its ability to spy on Americans.

“We did not cover ourselves in glory,” said one Democratic aide, referring to how the bill was compiled.

But a senior intelligence official who has been involved in the discussions on behalf of the administration said that the legislation was seen solely as a way to speed access to the communications of foreign targets, not to sweep up the communications of Americans by claiming to focus on foreigners.

“I don’t think it’s a fair reading,” the official said. “The intent here was pure: if you’re targeting someone outside the country, the fact that you’re doing the collection inside the country, that shouldn’t matter.” Democratic leaders have said they plan to push for a revision of the legislation as soon as September. “It was a legislative over-reach, limited in time,” said one Congressional Democratic aide. “But Democrats feel like they can regroup.”

Some civil rights advocates said they suspected that the administration made the language of the bill intentionally vague to allow it even broader discretion over wiretapping decisions. Whether intentional or not, the end result — according to top Democratic aides and other experts on national security law — is that the legislation may grant the government the right to collect a range of information on American citizens inside the United States without warrants, as long as the administration asserts that the spying concerns the monitoring of a person believed to be overseas.

In effect, they say, the legislation significantly relaxes the restrictions on how the government can conduct spying operations aimed at foreigners at the same time that it allows authorities to sweep up information about Americans.

These new powers are considered overly broad and troubling by some Congressional Democrats who raised their concerns with administration officials in private meetings this week.

“This shows why it is so risky to change the law by changing the definition” of something as basic as the meaning of electronic surveillance, said Suzanne Spaulding, a former Congressional staff member who is now a national security legal expert. “You end up with a broad range of consequences that you might not realize.”

The senior intelligence official acknowledged that Congressional staff members had raised concerns about the law in the meetings this week, and that ambiguities in the bill’s wording may have led to some confusion. “I’m sure there will be discussions about how and whether it should be fixed,” the official said.

Vanee Vines, a spokeswoman for the office of the director of national intelligence, said the concerns raised by Congressional officials about the wide scope of the new legislation were “speculative.” But she declined to discuss specific aspects of how the legislation would be enacted. The legislation gives the director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell, and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales broad discretion in enacting the new procedures and approving the way surveillance is conducted.

Bush administration officials said the new legislation, which amends FISA, was critical to fill an “intelligence gap” that had left the United States vulnerable to attack.

The legislation “restores FISA to its original and appropriate focus — protecting the privacy of Americans,” said Brian Roehrkasse, Justice Department spokesman. “The act makes clear that we do not need a court order to target for foreign intelligence collection persons located outside the United States, but it also retains FISA’s fundamental requirement of court orders when the target is in the United States.”

The measure, which President Bush signed into law on Aug. 5, was written and pushed through both the House and Senate so quickly that few in Congress had time to absorb its full impact, some Congressional aides say.

Though many Democratic leaders opposed the final version of the legislation, they did not work forcefully to block its passage, largely out of fear that they would be criticized by President Bush and Republican leaders during the August recess as being soft on terrorism.

Yet Bush administration officials have already signaled that, in their view, the president retains his constitutional authority to do whatever it takes to protect the country, regardless of any action Congress takes. At a tense meeting last week with lawyers from a range of private groups active in the wiretapping issue, senior Justice Department officials refused to commit the administration to adhering to the limits laid out in the new legislation and left open the possibility that the president could once again use what they have said in other instances is his constitutional authority to act outside the regulations set by Congress.

At the meeting, Bruce Fein, a Justice Department lawyer in the Reagan administration, along with other critics of the legislation, pressed Justice Department officials repeatedly for an assurance that the administration considered itself bound by the restrictions imposed by Congress. The Justice Department, led by Ken Wainstein, the assistant attorney general for national security, refused to do so, according to three participants in the meeting. That stance angered Mr. Fein and others. It sent the message, Mr. Fein said in an interview, that the new legislation, though it is already broadly worded, “is just advisory. The president can still do whatever he wants to do. They have not changed their position that the president’s Article II powers trump any ability by Congress to regulate the collection of foreign intelligence.”

Brian Walsh, a senior legal fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation who attended the same private meeting with Justice Department officials, acknowledged that the meeting — intended by the administration to solicit recommendations on the wiretapping legislation — became quite heated at times. But he said he thought the administration’s stance on the president’s commander-in-chief powers was “a wise course.”

“They were careful not to concede any authority that they believe they have under Article II,” Mr. Walsh said. “If they think they have the constitutional authority, it wouldn’t make sense to commit to not using it.”

Asked whether the administration considered the new legislation legally binding, Ms. Vines, the national intelligence office spokeswoman, said: “We’re going to follow the law and carry it out as it’s been passed.”

Mr. Bush issued a so-called signing statement about the legislation when he signed it into law, but the statement did not assert his presidential authority to override the legislative limits.

At the Justice Department session, critics of the legislation also complained to administration officials about the diminished role of the FISA court, which is limited to determining whether the procedures set up by the executive administration for intercepting foreign intelligence are “clearly erroneous” or not.

That limitation sets a high bar to set off any court intervention, argued Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, who also attended the Justice Department meeting.

“You’ve turned the court into a spectator,” Mr. Rotenberg said.


4) Peru’s Troops Try to Restore Order in Areas Hit by Quake
August 19, 2007

LIMA, Peru, Aug. 18 — Faced with looting by armed gangs in the southern region devastated by Wednesday’s earthquake and under strain of electricity blackouts and short supplies of food and water, the authorities here said Saturday that they were sending 600 soldiers in an attempt to impose order.

Defense Minister Allan Wagner Tizón said that the extra troops would bring the number of military personnel to 1,000 in the cities of Pisco, Ica, Cañete and Chincha Alta, which were hardest hit by the earthquake. The death toll has risen to more than 500.

In Pisco, where hundreds of people died in homes and in a church that collapsed, soldiers from Peru’s special forces patrolled streets near the central plaza. Hungry residents looted a market looking for food on Friday, while others pillaged trucks carrying food and supplies on the highway from Lima, the capital.

“The people have lost respect for the police, and that’s why the armed forces have been sent,” said Lt. Giancarlos Vernal while on patrol in Pisco. “At night, the thieves enter homes and take what they can.”

Responding to the earthquake is the first major test of the government of President Alan García, whose term began last year. Mr. García said Saturday that he was not ready to impose a curfew in the region but that he was prepared to “saturate” earthquake-affected areas with police forces if necessary.

Disorder spread from Pisco to other coastal cities, according to local news media reports, with much of the looting and armed robberies reported in Chincha Alta and Ica. The authorities attributed some of the crime to escaped prisoners from Tambo de Mora prison in Chincha Alta. Hundreds of prisoners escaped after one of the prison’s walls crumbled in the earthquake.

Meanwhile, aftershocks, including one that briefly shook high-rise buildings as far north as Lima on Friday night, kept many people in Peru on edge. And in Pisco on Saturday, there was a noticeable increase in the arrival of trucks carrying aid and tractors for clearing debris.

Despite temperatures that dipped into the low 50s in the desert night, many residents in Pisco slept outside their destroyed homes to protect their belongings from looters and scavengers.

“We’re in the street without food, without blankets,” said Margarita Quintanilla, 62, a street vendor who slept near her daughter and grandchildren in front of their crumbled home. Ms. Quintanilla said she was worried that her wares, electronic goods, might be irretrievable.

“Everything just fell down,” she said. “Now we have nothing.”

While desperation persisted in Pisco, Canal N, a Peruvian television network, broadcast news of a baby born late Friday in one of the city’s makeshift medical sites, amid the applause and shouts of “Viva!” by dozens of people. The baby, a boy, was named Rafael Jesus.

“After the fear that we all felt, I am happy,” Ericka Gutiérrez, the baby’s mother, told the network. President García went to the clinic to congratulate the parents, describing the baby as “handsome.”

Some reports said trucks carrying aid at the entrance to the city had been looted. And rumors spread that cholera and other diseases could emerge in the area. “The possibility of an epidemic is eliminated,” President García said in an attempt to quell such fears.

About 30,000 tents are needed in the region until homes are rebuilt, said Milo Stanojevich, the director in Peru for CARE, the international relief organization.

Mr. Stanojevich said about 80 percent of buildings in Pisco and 25 percent in Ica had collapsed, and that farther inland in Huancavelica, Peru’s poorest city, about 40 percent of homes had been destroyed and that residents there had no access to clean water.

Relief efforts were begun by foreign governments and aid groups, according to Agence France-Presse. Donor nations included the United States, Japan, Canada, Spain, Italy and France. Several of Peru’s neighbors were also mobilizing to send help.

The United Nations said that it was preparing to help, and the International Federation of the Red Cross said that it had sent two planes loaded with supplies.

Also, Bloomberg News reported that the European Commission had announced that it was increasing its aid package to 2 million euros, or about $2.7 million.

The European Union had previously pledged to send 1 million euros.

David Rochkind contributed reporting from Pisco, Peru.


5) Falluja’s Calm Is Seen as Fragile if U.S. Leaves
August 19, 2007

FALLUJA, Iraq — Falluja’s police chief, Col. Faisal Ismail Hussein, waved aloft a picture of a severed head in a bucket as a reminder of the brutality of the fundamentalist Sunni militias that once controlled this city. But he also described an uncertain future without “my only supporters,” the United States Marine Corps.

Nearly three years after invading and seizing Falluja from insurgents, the Marines are engaged in another struggle here: trying to build up a city, and police force, that seem to get little help from the Shiite-dominated national government.

Fallujans complain that they are starved of generator fuel and medical care because of a citywide vehicle ban imposed by the mayor, a Sunni, in May. But in recent months violence has fallen sharply, a byproduct of the vehicle ban, the wider revolt by Sunni Arab tribes against militants and a new strategy by the Marines to divide Falluja into 10 tightly controlled precincts, each walled off by concrete barriers and guarded by a new armed Sunni force.

Security has improved enough that they are planning to largely withdraw from the city by next spring. But their plan hinges on the performance of the Iraqi government, which has failed to provide the Falluja police with even the most routine supplies, Marine officers say.

The gains in Falluja, neighboring Ramadi and other areas in Anbar Province, once the most violent area in Iraq and the heart of the Sunni Arab insurgency, are often cited as a success story, a possible model for the rest of Iraq. But interviews with marines and Iraqi officials in Falluja suggest that the recent relative calm here is fragile and that the same sectarian rivalries that have divided the Iraqi government could undermine security as soon as the Marines leave.

Rank-and-file marines question how security forces here would fare on their own, especially when the vehicle ban is lifted.

If Falluja were left unsupervised too soon, “there is a good chance we would lose everything we have gained,” said Sgt. Chris Turpin, an intelligence analyst with a military training team here.

Marine commanders emphasize there is no hard-and-fast date for leaving the city. “A lot of people say that without the Americans it’s all going to collapse,” said Col. Richard Simcock, the commander of Marine Regimental Combat Team Six in eastern Anbar. “I’m not that negative. I’ve seen too much success here to believe that.”

Most of the fuel, ammunition and vehicle maintenance for the Falluja police is still supplied by the American military, said Maj. Todd Sermarini, the marine in charge of police training here.

Some police officers have been forced to buy gasoline from black-market roadside vendors. “Ammunition is a big problem, weapons are a problem, and wages are a problem,” said Capt. Al Cheng, 34, a company commander working with the police here.

Many Sunni leaders here contend that the Shiite-dominated government is neglecting them for sectarian reasons, and the bad feelings at times boil over into angry accusations. In interviews conducted in early August, some said that factions in the Interior Ministry were taking orders from Iran, or that the government was withholding money and support because it did not want to build up Sunni security forces that it could end up fighting after an eventual American withdrawal from Iraq.

Iraqi officials in Baghdad deny shortchanging Falluja, saying they have authorized more than enough police forces for Anbar. “We’d like to support them, but that does not mean we can respond to their requests or demands,” said Sadiq al-Rikabi, political adviser to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. He said the government had problems supplying the police throughout Iraq.

The Marines operate as a “shock absorber” between the locals and the central government, said Brig. Gen. John Allen, the deputy Marine commander in Anbar Province. The animosity toward Baghdad among the Sunnis here “worries me, but I don’t despair of it,” he said, adding that he thought the government’s lack of support was more a result of bureaucratic inefficiency than sectarian hostility. “The challenge for us is to connect the province to the central government.”

But first, marines in Falluja have to connect residents with their own police force. On a recent weekend, that involved establishing a joint American-Iraqi security outpost in Andalus, one of the city’s worst neighborhoods, where the pockmarked buildings still bear the scars of the 2004 American assault.

In just 24 hours, marines cut enough electrical cable and plywood to turn a shell of a building into a functioning outpost, one of the 10 they are building, one for each precinct, and to wall off the precinct behind concrete barriers, leaving only a few ways in or out.

The next step was to recruit an auxiliary force to help the police. After careful screening, they hired 200 Iraqis to serve in a neighborhood watch for the precinct, part of an effort to bolster the undersized force of slightly more than 1,000 police officers for the city and surrounding area. The members of the new force are paid $50 a month by the Marines to stand guard — mostly at checkpoints at the entrances to the neighborhood — with weapons they bring from home, typically AK-47s.

Seven of the city’s 10 precincts have now gotten the same treatment as Andalus. The idea behind the outposts was to roust the Iraqi police from their central headquarters, which they seldom left, and get them into the neighborhood outposts.

The new plan makes it easier for marines to act as mentors for the policemen, whose heavy-handed tactics remain a concern. The police need to learn not to arrest “a hundred people” for a single crime, Colonel Simcock said. “What’s going to stop Al Qaeda is not having 99 people angry at the police because they were wrongfully arrested,” he said.

Despite the marines’ best efforts to screen recruits, Captain Cheng said, “it wouldn’t surprise me that a lot of the guys we used to fight are in the neighborhood watch.” But he says the new force has already made a difference, turning in active insurgents and guarding precincts that have only 10 or 20 police officers on patrol at any one time.

Captain Cheng says the plan to turn Falluja’s security over to the police is on track, but he points out how much the marines still do. “We are the ones emplacing the barriers, we are the ones hiring the neighborhood watch,” he said. “We are the ones establishing the conditions for them to succeed.”

Violence has dropped sharply in the city, where no marines have been killed or wounded since mid-May. But deadly skirmishes have been common around the nearby village of Karma and in remote areas north of Falluja.

Twenty-five service members have been killed in Anbar Province since the beginning of July, according to, making it by far the deadliest province after Baghdad.

The struggle to supply the police overshadows another important element in the American military’s gains in Anbar: contracts awarded to Sunni tribal allies in rural areas.

The tribes have relatively little influence in Falluja but dominate elsewhere in the province. Their decision to ally with the Marines helped stabilize the entire region, and men from tribes now serve in provincial security forces to help keep insurgents at bay.

One Marine civil affairs officer estimates that a quarter of the $10 million his unit has committed to spending around Falluja since March has gone to the Abu Issa tribe, which is centered west of Falluja. The Jumaili, a tribe near Karma, has received $1 million, the officer said. The contracts are typically for water treatment plants, refurbishing clinics and similar projects.

“The politics here are very much governed by greed, and this is the real alliance in Anbar,” said an American reconstruction official here who worries the contracts are only a temporary glue with the tribes and who was not authorized to speak publicly. If the Iraqi government provided more, “everything would be much more sustainable.”

The last security outpost is set to be finished in September, followed by four new police stations scattered throughout the city. If all goes as planned, the marines should begin leaving the city early next year, said Lt. Col. Bill Mullen, who commands the Second Battalion, Sixth Marines, the unit that patrols Falluja.

In effect, the Marines are predicting they can leave Falluja on the same timeline many in Congress want to see troops pulled back to larger bases or leaving altogether. Troops who would have patrolled Falluja would deploy into outlying areas by April, but close enough to reinforce the city in a crisis, Colonel Mullen said. Small police training and liaison teams would also remain.

“Everything we are doing is oriented toward our ability to leave,” he said, adding that the most likely obstacle to leaving by April would be the continued failure of the Interior Ministry to supply the police. “You can’t help hearing stuff going on back in the United States, and Congress reaching for the chain to pull the plug out of the bathtub. The smart money says there is finite time.”

The Iraqi Army has already been pulling out of Falluja. The last battalion is scheduled to leave in September. Though the marines here say the Iraqi soldiers were a good unit, there has been tension between the police and the soldiers, who one marine commander said were 90 percent Shiite. Marines say guns-drawn confrontations have occurred, though none recently.

The tensions briefly boiled over on a recent joint patrol through Andalus, when the police accused Iraqi soldiers of stealing blankets from large bags of supplies being handed to residents from the back of trucks.

As people from the neighborhood looked on, the soldiers accused the police of being “moles” and “spies” for insurgents, and the Iraqi Army commander shouted and shook his finger in the faces of policemen. The police shouted back, accusing the soldiers of serving as Iranian agents. Afterward, the police and army commanders calmed down their troops and shook hands.

If the Iraqi government provided a large and steady supply of men, weapons, vehicles and equipment, the police could secure the city, said Colonel Hussein, the Falluja police chief. But he complained of little support from the government except for salaries, which he doubted would be paid if the Americans were not here. He said he also needed four times more policemen. “Without the role of the Marines, I’ll fail,” he said.

Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf, a senior Interior Ministry spokesman, called Colonel Hussein’s comments “unprofessional.” In an interview, he said if the Falluja police had an equipment shortage then they failed to request enough gear earlier.

He added that if Colonel Hussein is so fond of the Marines, perhaps he should apply for American citizenship.

Wisam A. Habeeb and Abdul Razzaq al-Saiedi contributed reporting from Baghdad.


6) It’s a Miserable Life
Op-Ed Columnist
August 20, 2007

Last week the scene at branches of Countrywide Bank, with crowds of agitated depositors trying to withdraw their money, looked a bit like the bank run in the classic holiday movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

As it happens, Countrywide’s customers were overreacting. True, the bank is owned by Countrywide Financial, the nation’s largest mortgage lender — and mortgage lenders are in big trouble these days. But bank deposits up to $100,000 are protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Old-fashioned bank runs just don’t make sense these days.

New-fashioned bank runs, on the other hand, do make sense — and they’re at the heart of the current financial crisis.

The key to understanding what’s happening is taking a broad view of what constitutes a bank. From an economic perspective, a bank is any institution that offers people liquidity — the ability to convert their assets into cash on short notice — while still using their money to make long-term investments.

Traditional banks promise depositors the right to withdraw their funds at any time. Yet banks lend out most of the money depositors place in their care, keeping only a fraction in cash. The reason this works is that normally a bank’s depositors want to withdraw only a small proportion of their money on any given day.

Banks get in trouble, however, when some event, like a rumor that major loans have gone bad, leads many depositors to demand their money at the same time.

The scary thing about bank runs is that doubts about a bank’s soundness can be a self-fulfilling prophecy: a bank that should be safely in the black can nonetheless fail if it’s forced to sell assets in a hurry. And bank failures can have devastating economic effects. Many economists believe that the banking panic of the early 1930s, not the stock market crash of 1929, was the principal cause of the Great Depression.

That’s why bank deposits are now protected by a combination of guarantees and regulation. On one side, deposits are federally insured, and the Federal Reserve stands ready to rush cash to troubled banks if necessary. On the other side, banks are required to keep adequate reserves, have adequate capital and make conservative loans.

But these guarantees and regulations apply only to traditional banks. Meanwhile, a growing number of unregulated bank-like institutions have become vulnerable to the 21st-century version of bank runs.

Consider the case of KKR Financial Holdings, an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, a powerhouse Wall Street operator. KKR Financial raises money by issuing asset-backed commercial paper — a claim that’s sort of like a short-term C.D., used by large investors to temporarily park funds — and invests most of this money in longer-term assets. So the company is acting as a kind of bank, one that offers a higher interest rate than ordinary banks pay their clients.

It sounds like a great deal — except that last week KKR Financial announced that it was seeking to delay $5 billion in repayments. That’s the equivalent of a bank closing its doors because it’s running out of cash.

The problems at KKR Financial are part of a broader picture in which many investors, spooked by the problems in the mortgage market, have been pulling their money out of institutions that use short-term borrowing to finance long-term investments. These institutions aren’t called banks, but in economic terms what’s been happening amounts to a burgeoning banking panic.

On Friday, the Federal Reserve tried to quell this panic by announcing a surprise cut in the discount rate, the rate at which it lends money to banks. It remains to be seen whether the move will do the trick.

The problem, as many observers have noticed, is that the Fed’s move is largely symbolic. It makes more funds available to depository institutions, a k a old-fashioned banks — but old-fashioned banks aren’t where the crisis is centered. And the Fed doesn’t have any clear way to deal with bank runs on institutions that aren’t called banks.

Now, sometimes symbolic gestures are enough. The Fed’s surprise quarter-point interest rate cut in October 1998, at the height of the crisis caused by the implosion of the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management, was similarly a case of providing money where it wasn’t needed. Yet it helped restore calm to the markets, by conveying the sense that policy makers were on top of the situation.

Friday’s cut might do the same thing. But if it doesn’t, it’s not clear what comes next.

Whatever happens now, it’s hard to avoid the sense that the growing complexity of our financial system is making it increasingly prone to crises — crises that are beyond the ability of traditional policies to handle. Maybe we’ll make it through this crisis unscathed. But what about the next one, or the one after that?


7) The Good War, Still to Be Won
"Victory there will now be harder than it needed to be. But it is no less necessary."
NYT Editorial
August 20, 2007

We will never know just how much better the fight in Afghanistan might be going if it had been managed more competently over the past six years. But there can be little doubt that American forces — and Afghanistan’s government — would be in far stronger positions than they are today.

How different things might be if the Bush administration had not diverted needed troops and dollars into the misguided invasion of Iraq, nor wasted years discouraging needed NATO military assistance, nor pulled its punches rather than pressuring a Pakistani dictator with, at best, mixed feelings toward the Taliban.

Those are some of the questions raised in a devastating Times account earlier this month of how Afghanistan’s “good war” went bad. The battle against Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies is still winnable, and it is vital to American security. But victory will require a smarter strategy and a lot more attention and resources.

In the first months after Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks, the world, the Afghan people and Washington’s most important allies were all on America’s side. Now, a resurgent Taliban army operates from Pakistani sanctuaries. It wins Afghan hearts and minds every time an errant American airstrike kills innocent civilians, and it gains even more whenever an aid-starved Afghan government fails to deliver on its promises of better governance, economic development and physical security.

America has never had enough troops in Afghanistan, not in 2001, when Osama bin Laden was on the run in the caves of Tora Bora, and not today, when much of the country is still without effective authority. Too few ground troops have meant too much reliance on airstrikes, leading to too many innocent civilian casualties.

Since the Iraq buildup began in 2002, it has drawn away the resources that could have turned the tide in Afghanistan, including the military’s best special operations and counterinsurgency units. Afghanistan, larger and more populous than Iraq, now has 23,500 American troops. Iraq has about 160,000.

The pattern with development aid has been similar. In 2002, President Bush vowed not to repeat his father’s mistake of leaving Afghans to rebuild on their own after the 1989 Soviet withdrawal. He broke that vow. In proportion to its population, Afghanistan has received less American development assistance than Bosnia, Kosovo or Haiti. After years of pleas from American ambassadors, total aid is set to increase sharply this year. But with much of the money going to security-related areas like military training and drug eradication, the amount left for rebuilding — and to provide alternatives to working for warlords or traffickers — is grossly insufficient.

Rightly viewing 9/11 as an attack on a member state, NATO offered to send troops to fight alongside America in Afghanistan. The Bush administration first declined the offer, then accepted help on peacekeeping in Kabul and relatively secure areas of northern Afghanistan — shunting NATO away from combat areas. That finally changed in 2005, when Washington had to admit that it did not have enough troops to control the embattled south. By then, the fight had become far more difficult.

Washington’s mistakes have made Iraq a new staging area for international terrorism. The borderlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan are still home to Al Qaeda’s most important bases and most dangerous leaders. Victory there will now be harder than it needed to be. But it is no less necessary.


8) Greasing the Wheels on the Machinery of Death
August 20, 2007

Death penalty cases can take a long time. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales wants to move things along.

Under an odd provision in last year’s reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act, the antiterrorism law, the attorney general is to take on a role that has for more than a decade belonged to the courts. After the Justice Department finishes writing the regulations, Mr. Gonzales will get the job of deciding whether states are providing condemned inmates with decent lawyers.

If the answer is yes, federal litigation in capital cases from those states — one of the main reasons for the lengthy appeals — will move to a fast track. Inmates will have to file habeas corpus challenges in six months rather than a year, and judges will be subject to strict deadlines. Appeals courts, for instance, will get 120 days to decide cases.

The trade-offs themselves are not new, and they are not necessarily a problem. If states can be encouraged to provide able defense lawyers to death row inmates in state proceedings, the federal courts may indeed have less to worry about.

But giving the power to decide when a fast track is warranted to an interested party like Mr. Gonzales is a curious way to run a justice system.

“A first-year law student could spot this conflict of interest a mile away,” said Elisabeth Semel, the director of the death penalty clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, and an opponent of the death penalty.

The move can only represent Congressional dissatisfaction with the decisions of the dozens of federal judges who have considered the adequacy of state systems to provide death row inmates with qualified defense teams over the last decade.

With one partial exception, they have found that the states are not yet where they should be. (The exception is Arizona, which a federal appeals court said had an adequate system on paper, at least as of 1998, though the court also ruled that the system had not been followed in the case before it.)

Opponents of the death penalty say Congress wants Mr. Gonzales to speak power to truth.

“After the courts had repeatedly found that the states were not providing competent defense representation in capital cases, Congress decided to solve the problem by the simple device of having the attorney general announce that it did not exist,” said Eric M. Freedman, a law professor at Hofstra who submitted testimony opposing a version of the new law for the American Bar Association in 2005.

“The attorney general can certify that the moon is made of green cheese, but that will neither make it so nor advance scientific knowledge,” Professor Freedman said. “The way to fix capital defense systems is not to deny that they need fixing, but rather to dedicate the needed resources to improving them.”

There is also some evidence that the law is a solution in search of a problem. In 1996, Congress imposed new time limits for filing capital cases and severely cut back on the kinds of issues the federal courts may consider. That law has had a significant impact, according to a study by Professor Freedman and David R. Dow, a law professor at the University of Houston, to be published next year by the Carolina Academic Press.

Before the 1996 law, death row inmates who filed habeas corpus petitions in federal court succeeded in overturning their convictions or death sentences about 40 percent of the time. According to the study, which looked at the years 2000 through 2006, that number has dropped to 12 percent. And it continues to fall.

“Federal courts now grant relief at a very small rate — far smaller than they would if they had the power to correct significant constitutional violations,” Professor Dow said, “but Congress has already deprived federal courts of their power to grant relief in most cases, even where the court believes that a significant error has occurred.”

These days, federal courts in the generally conservative Fourth Circuit, which covers Virginia and four other states, grant habeas petitions from death row inmates 2 percent of the time. In the more liberal Ninth Circuit, which covers California and eight other Western states, petitioners succeed 35 percent of the time.

The new law was pushed by legislators and prosecutors in Arizona and California, and it is an expression of their frustration with the Ninth Circuit. Elsewhere in the country, the machinery of death is humming along. In Virginia, for instance, people convicted of capital crimes are executed, on average, in seven years.

California, by contrast, seldom executes anyone. It has some 660 people on its death row and has executed 13 people since the United States Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976.

It is true that the capital justice system is not efficient. But efficiency cannot be the only goal. Accuracy must matter, too.

“The notion that the federal government wants to accelerate executions in the face of known mistakes, and wants to do so just as DNA is becoming available in more and more cases, is mind-boggling,” Professor Dow said. “It will increase the risk that some state executes a person we later find to be innocent.”

Online: Documents and an archive of Adam Liptak’s articles and columns:


9) Immigration Activist Deported
Filed at 12:04 p.m. ET
August 20, 2007

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- An illegal immigrant who took refuge in a Chicago church for a year to avoid being separated from her U.S.-born son has been deported to Mexico, the church's pastor said.

Elvira Arellano became an activist and a national symbol for illegal immigrant parents as she defied her deportation order and spoke out from her religious sanctuary. She held a news conference last week to announce that she would finally leave the church to try to lobby U.S. lawmakers for change.

She had just spoken at a Los Angeles rally when she was arrested Sunday outside Our Lady Queen of Angels church and deported, said the Rev. Walter Coleman, pastor of Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago, where Arellano had been living.

''She is free and in Tijuana,'' said Coleman, who said he spoke to her on the phone. ''She is in good spirits. She is ready to continue the struggle against the separation of families from the other side of the border.''

Her 8-year-old son, Saul, is now living with Coleman's family. During a news conference in Los Angeles after Arellano's arrest, the boy hid behind the pastor's wife and wiped away tears.

Arellano had said on Saturday that she was not afraid of being taken into custody by immigration agents.

''From the time I took sanctuary, the possibility has existed that they arrest me in the place and time they want,'' she said in Spanish. ''I only have two choices. I either go to my country, Mexico, or stay and keep fighting. I decided to stay and fight.''

Arellano, 32, arrived in Washington state illegally in 1997. She was deported to Mexico shortly afterward, but returned and moved to Illinois in 2000, taking a job cleaning planes at O'Hare International Airport.

She was arrested in 2002 at O'Hare and convicted of working under a false Social Security number. She was to surrender to authorities last August but instead sought refuge at the church on Aug. 15, 2006.

She had not left the church property until she decided to travel by car to Los Angeles, Coleman said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed her arrest and said she was deported Sunday night through San Diego's San Ysidro border crossing. The discussions there included Luis Cabrera, Mexico's general consul in San Diego, and Robin Baker, ICE's director of detention and removals in San Diego, ICE spokeswoman Lauren Mack said.

''Obviously this was a woman who didn't want to go. They wanted to make sure any possible legal avenue that may have been open to her was closed,'' Mack said. ''This was a very, very sensitive removal for us as well as Mexico.''

Outside an ICE office in Chicago on Monday, about 50 people protested Arellano's deportation. ''It wakes us up to do something,'' said Bertha Rangel, who brought her three young children to the rally.

Arellano is staying with a friend in Tijuana, Coleman said. He said she had brought to light her struggle, and for that, ''she has won a victory.''

''She'll be organizing on the Mexican side of the border while we're organizing in the (United) States,'' Coleman said Monday. ''She'll be talking to organizations throughout Mexico and congressmen in Mexico City.''

Coleman said he and other activists will continue Arellano's original plan to go to Washington, D.C., and take part in a prayer meeting and rally for immigration reform at the Capitol on Sept. 12.

Immigration activists promised protests and vigils to support Arellano.

''We are sad, but at the same time we are angry,'' said Javier Rodriguez, a Chicago immigration activist who worked with Arellano. ''How dare they arrest this woman?''

Anti-illegal immigrant groups said the arrest was long overdue.

''Just because the woman has gone public and made an issue of the fact that she is defying law doesn't mean the government doesn't have to do its job,'' said Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which favors limits on immigration.

Arellano has repeatedly called for a stop to immigration raids that break up families with some members who are in the U.S. legally and others illegally. She has said her son would be deprived of his rights as a U.S. citizen if he had to go to Mexico simply because she did.

While being arrested, Arellano spoke briefly with her son before submitting to authorities, said Emma Lozano, Coleman's wife and head of immigration rights group Centro Sin Fronteras in Chicago.

''She calmed him down, hugged him and gave him a blessing,'' Lozano said.

Associated Press writers Sophia Tareen and Michael Tarm in Chicago and Raquel Maria Dillon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


10) Hedge Funds Are Squeezed by Investors and Lenders
August 20, 2007

As summer neared, investors in Sowood Capital Management, a $3 billion hedge fund, had little to complain about.

The fund was up 16 percent over the previous 12 months. Blue-chip management was in place, and any risk was well-hedged with a comfortable cushion of financing in place, the fund said in a letter to investors.

But a rocky June turned into a calamitous July, and by the end of the month, Sowood was on the brink of collapse. As the credit market tightened, Sowood had to sell stocks to meet margin calls from skittish banks and add hundreds of millions in cash reserves.

Sowood’s manager, Jeffrey Larson, sold the rest of the portfolio seemingly overnight — at a fraction of its initial value — and embarked on what he would later describe as a “deeply painful” process of returning the remaining money to investors and shutting the funds.

As problems that began in subprime mortgage lending have expanded into the broader markets, hedge funds like Sowood have come face to face with the ghost of past financial crises: the one-two liquidity punch from banks and investors.

On the one side, Wall Street banks and brokerage firms, as they did with Sowood, have stepped up their demands for more cash and collateral as they restrict the money they are willing to lend.

On the other, jittery investors seem ready to flee at any sign of trouble, as they did from the Bear Stearns Asset-Backed Securities Fund. The fund had a solid track record, no leverage and little exposure to subprime mortgages, but after it reported losses in July, investors demanded their money and Bear Stearns was forced to suspend redemptions.

Liquidity — the ability to quickly sell an asset at a reasonable value — is the linchpin to markets functioning effectively, and its absence in recent weeks has led to substantial losses in many highly leveraged hedge funds.

“For hedge funds, illiquidity is their Achilles’ heel,” said one fund investor who was not authorized to speak to the media.

Pressure from banks to raise margin levels as well as pressure from investors could not have come at a worse time for hedge funds; the prices of the debt instruments they hold continue to fall, if they trade at all. Stocks widely held by hedge funds, from small-cap value stocks to potential targets for leveraged buyouts, have been pummeled. And with volatility in the markets, banks and hedge funds are scrambling to reduce risk and sell those securities that can be easily sold.

“It’s not that suddenly everyone is out of cash — they just don’t want to lend it or invest it,” said Frederick H. Joseph, a head of investment banking at Morgan Joseph & Company, a boutique investment bank, and the former head of Drexel Burnham Lambert, the investment bank that survived an insider trading scandal but collapsed two years later when banks shut off financing.

A liquidity vacuum is scary for any market player, but it can be particularly hazardous to hedge funds that try to make money by spotting anomalies in the market. When liquidity dries up and fear takes over, prices start to behave abnormally and the funds’ bets go haywire.

“Hedge funds can withdraw liquidity rapidly, particularly when facing mounting losses, and this can cause severe market dislocation on the rare occasions when they all head for the exit door at the same time,” said Andrew W. Lo, a professor at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management.

The dash to sell has been exacerbated by the interconnected nature of the players in the market and the securities they hold.

Because of problems in subprime mortgages, large “multistrategy” funds, those that trade many different kinds of securities or use diverse strategies, faced increased margin calls on their mortgage- or credit-related portfolios.

As banks demanded more collateral, the funds sold stocks. But many funds held the same stocks, including shares of companies known to be headed for a leveraged buyout, or others seen as targets for one.

With no ability to sell risky loans or slices of collateralized debt obligations, the funds started dumping stocks they owned and buying back stocks they had borrowed.

As a result, “high quality” or value stocks, plummeted while popular shorts — stocks that managers bet would fall in price — soared. This phenomenon ran counter to computer-driven or quantitative trading models, and created major losses in the first half of August in funds using those models, including some owned by Goldman Sachs, AQR Capital and D.E. Shaw.

Rumors shook the marketplace about imminent doom for various hedge funds. Some funds facing extensive losses looked to secure additional liquidity.

After steep losses in the first two weeks of August, three Goldman Sachs funds were severely under water. Its Global Equity Opportunities Fund fell 30 percent in one week; Global Alpha, a multi-strategy fund, doubled its losses in a week and ended last week down 27 percent, continuing an 18-month run of poor performance. The North American Equity Opportunities Fund was down more than 40 percent by Aug. 10, according to the HSBC Private Banking report.

With redemption notices approaching, Goldman orchestrated a major injection of liquidity. On Monday, before the market opened, the investment bank said it would team with some prominent investors including Maurice R. Greenberg, the former chairman of the American International Group who now runs C.V. Starr, and Richard Perry of Perry Capital, to inject $3 billion into the Global Equity Opportunities Fund ($2 billion of the total came from Goldman).

According to one investor, by the end of the week the Global Equity Opportunities fund faced “single digit” drawdowns from redemptions, suggesting that Goldman had, for the moment, dodged a bullet. (Investors are allowed to withdraw their money only once a month from the Global Equity fund, so the issue will arise again in mid-September). A spokesman declined to comment.

“The winners will be those who have liquidity and can extend it to those who crave it,” said Alan H. Dorsey, alternative investment strategist at Lehman.

But not everyone has access to capital. And when funds run into problems when liquidity is not available, investors can get nervous and run for the exits.

At United Capital Asset Management, John Devaney, a well-known manager who is selling his yacht, the Positive Carry, said in early July that the fund had received an “unusually high number of redemption requests,” including one from its largest investor that accounted for nearly a quarter of the firm’s assets under management.

As a result, he said, the firm suspended redemptions in several funds “in order to protect the interests of our investors.”

Regulators have for years emphasized to banks, which they oversee, as well as to investment banks and hedge funds, which they do not, the importance of managing “liquidity risk,” or the risk that hedge funds or banks wake up one day and cannot sell or borrow.

Yet those warnings often go unheeded. Long-Term Capital Management, for example, collapsed in the late 1990s when securities that the best computer models in the world predicted would not move in a certain direction did just that.

More recently, executives have blamed very unusual events — known to experts as 25-standard deviation moves, things expected only every 100,000 years — for the disruptions that computers could not predict.

And yet such unpredictable movements seem to pop up every few years. And when they do, they cause severe damage, even for big diversified funds with long track records.

SAC Capital’s multistrategy fund is down 6 percent for August, one of its worst months ever, one investor said.

Toward the end of the week, Tudor Investment’s Raptor Fund was down 7 percent for the year, and Highbridge Capital Management, owned by JPMorgan, was down 4 percent for the month at midweek and up 2.5 percent for the year. Representatives from those firms declined to comment.

Waiting in the wings are the opportunists. Goldman Sachs, in spite of the abysmal performance of its major funds, is raising money for a fund to capitalize on assets that have been beaten down by fear, but whose fundamental value should spike when more normal markets reappear.

It will be Goldman’s third Liquidity Partners fund: the first two were raised in 1998 and 2001, two other periods of extreme market conditions. According to a marketing document, Goldman will contribute 10 percent or up to $100 million and the fund will look for “tactical market opportunities” in fixed-income sectors rattled by dislocations.

“Liquidity used to be opportunistic,” said Stewart R. Massey, of Massey Quick, a consulting firm. “Now it’s predatory. Many savvy investors are sitting on cash or lines of credit waiting to pounce on distressed sellers.”


11) Labor Pact Is Approved by a Union at Delphi
August 20, 2007

DETROIT, Aug. 19 (AP) — Members of a union representing about 2,000 hourly workers of the Delphi Corporation, the auto parts supplier, voted to ratify a new four-year contract with Delphi, the union said.

Seventy-five percent of International Union of Electronic Workers-Communications Workers of America members at locals with Delphi employees voted in favor of the deal, the union announced late Saturday.

“The past two years have been a difficult period for our members and local unions,” the union’s president, Jim Clark, said in a statement. “This vote gives members options about their future on the job and allows the union to start the rebuilding process.”

The United States Bankruptcy Court in New York approved the deal last week, so the contract goes into effect immediately, the Communications Workers’ industrial branch said. Delphi entered court protection in October 2005, and agreements with its unions are part of an effort to emerge from bankruptcy.

A tentative deal had been reached Aug. 5 after the union warned of a possible strike if progress were not made on talks.

Delphi, based in Troy, Mich., has said it needed union concessions to be able to compete against suppliers with cheaper labor costs. Delphi is the former parts division of General Motors, which spun it off in 1999.

The electronic workers union has members at three plants that Delphi plans to keep — in Warren, Ohio, and Brookhaven and Clinton, Miss. — as well as at three the company plans to sell or close, in Kettering and Moraine, Ohio, and Gadsden, Ala.

On Friday, the United Steelworkers announced a tentative agreement with Delphi covering about 900 of its Ohio workers. The Steelworkers union was the last one working with Delphi on a new contract. The union contracts required court approval.

The bankruptcy court last month approved Delphi’s new agreement with its biggest union, the United Automobile Workers, which represents 17,000 Delphi workers.


12) Debt and Spending May Slow as Housing Falters, Fed Suggests
August 20, 2007

A new research paper co-written by the vice chairman of the Federal Reserve says that consumer debt soared over the last six years mainly because of the rapid increase in housing prices.

The research suggests that consumer spending may slow down over the next few years.

The paper will be presented this morning by Donald L. Kohn, the second-highest ranking Fed official after Ben S. Bernanke, during a conference of central bankers in Sydney, Australia. Mr. Kohn wrote the paper with a Fed economist, Karen E. Dynan.

Ms. Dynan and Mr. Kohn say that higher housing prices made many homeowners feel wealthier and more willing to take on debt, which they then used to finance more spending. This spending helped to keep the economy growing at a healthy pace since the last recession ended in 2001.

But the increase in debt “is not likely to be repeated,” according to an advance copy of the paper, unless home prices rise as rapidly as they have in the recent past and mortgages become even easier for borrowers to obtain.

Home prices are already falling in much of the country, and mortgages have become far harder to get in recent months.

Higher home prices also raised debt in recent years by causing families to take out large mortgages in order to afford the houses they wanted.

The Fed’s study, which has been in the works for months, helps highlight some of the difficulties that policy makers are facing.

The authors note that the average household now owes more money than it makes in annual income. In the early 1980s, the debt-to-income ratio was below 60 percent.

The fact that the population is older and richer than it once was explains part of the rise. So do financial innovations that have made it easier to borrow money. But “the increase in house prices — particularly, but not exclusively, over the past half-dozen years — appears to have played the central role,” the authors write.

Among nonhomeowners, the debt-to-income ratio has not risen significantly since the early ’80s, the authors said.

In some cases, the authors said, homeowner families might have taken on more debt than was wise, out of a misplaced belief that the rise in prices would continue for years.

The Fed’s analysis is noteworthy because consumer spending has been arguably the economy’s biggest strength since 2000.

Mr. Kohn has worked within the Fed system since 1970 and was perhaps Alan Greenspan’s closest adviser. He is also considered to have significant influence with Mr. Bernanke and the current board.


13) Competition for Control of North Pole
August 20, 2007

Before the Russians surprised the world with the scientific feat of
planting a flag on the sea bottom of the North Pole as a symbolic
claim to part of the region rich in raw materials, Canada, Norway,
Denmark and the United States all vied for control over the vast
zones, arguing they have more right to it than Moscow.


The Canadians reacted by making noise in the media, sent ships and
set up two bases in the region. Meanwhile, from Washington, there are
renewed efforts to refute Russia's claim to the underwater Artic as
part of the Siberian continental platform.

The fuss has an explanation: 25 percent of the world's gas and oil
reserves are located in this underwater region. There is also an
abundance of tin, magnesium, gold, nickel, lead and platinum.

The eagerness to posses the mineral wealth is even greater given that
specialists estimate that by 2040 much of the area will have
defrosted, opening up new possibilities for exploitation.

The role the United Nations will play in the dispute remains to be
seen. Likely scenarios are Denmark, Norway, the US, Canada and Sweden
carrying out their own expeditions or attempting to divide the area
without the intervention of an international organism.

To understand the role played by the United Nations it is important
to know that United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982)
recognizes the rights of a State over its continental platform. This
explains the Russians interest in demonstrating that the underwater
Lomonosov Ridge along with the Mendeleyev are part of the Siberian
continental platform. The bathyscaphes that descended to the Artic
floor also took samples which their scientists hope will prove their

Russia isn't the only country interested in the Lomonosov Ridge which
divides the Artic Ocean and extends over 1,800 kilometers from the
New Siberian Islands of Russia, crossing the central part of the
Artic Ocean, by the North Pole on to Canada's Ellesmere Island and

Denmark (which possesses Greenland) and Canada are carrying out their
own research, hoping to prove that the Lomonosov Ridge is in fact a
continuation of their respective continental shelves. Norway also
hopes to extend its platform and lastly, the US has joined the group
of countries that want to expand their underwater territory.

In summary:

Canada: Maintains a dispute with the United States over the
"northeast pass" between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It also
refutes Russian sovereignty, demanding the right over the Straight of
Anian. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper strengthened the
Canadian military presence in the area with an increase from 900 to
5,000 troops, 8 ships and 2 bases.

Norway: For more than three decades disputes the Barents Sea with

Denmark: Rejects the Russian claim to the Lomonosov Ridge coming from
Siberia. Copenhagen considers it a part of Greenland.

United States: The US doesn't recognize Russian claims and refuses to
ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Advisors
of President Bush want to extend the US continental platform a
thousand kilometers beyond Alaska, and are now looking at the
international convention with interest.


What's certain is that the Russians arrived at the ocean floor and
planted their flag and found a yellowish bed apparently without life,
which some scientists believe could be the result of climate change.

When he took office as vice president in 1993, Al Gore went on a
submarine under the heavy icecaps, dozens of meters thick, of the
North Pole. It was thought as a safe haven for presidents in the
event of a nuclear attack.

But in 2005, long outside the White House, Gore repeated the
experience with environmental organizations and found that the
situation had changed. The sea life was nil and in some places, the
ice cap was only a half-meter thick.

In this context the struggle to control the North Pole is underway.
Precisely the deteriorated situation of the environmental balance
makes the International Polar Year 2007-2008 a paradoxical one that
marks the beginning of what environmentalists call one of the great
battles of the 21st Century.


13) War’s Chilling Reality
Op-Ed Columnist
August 21, 2007

Bryan Anderson, a 25-year-old Army sergeant who was wounded in Iraq, was explaining, on camera — to James Gandolfini, of all people — what happened immediately after a roadside bomb blew up the Humvee that he was driving.

“I was like, ‘Oh, we got hit. We got hit.’ And then I had blood on my face and the flies were landing all over my face. So I wiped my face to get rid of the flies. And that is when I noticed that my fingertip was gone. So I was like, ‘Oh. O.K.’

“So that is when I started really assessing myself. I was like, ‘That’s not bad.’ And then I turned my hand over, and I noticed that this chunk of my hand was gone. So I was like, ‘O.K., still not bad. I can live with that.’

“And then when I went to wipe the flies on my face with my left hand, there was nothing there. So I was like, ‘Uh, that’s gone.’ And then I looked down and I saw that my legs were gone. And then they had kind of forced my head back down to the ground, hoping that I wouldn’t see.”

HBO’s contribution to an expanded awareness of the awful realities of war continues with a new documentary, “Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq.”

Mr. Gandolfini, one of the executive producers of the film, steps out of his Tony Soprano persona to quietly, even gently, interview 10 soldiers and marines who barely escaped death in combat.

The interviews are powerful, and often chilling. They offer a portrait of combat and its aftermath that bears no relation to the sanitized, often upbeat version of war — not just in Iraq, but in general — that so often comes from politicians and the news media.

Dawn Halfaker, a 28-year-old former Army captain, is among those featured in the documentary. She lost her right arm and shoulder in Iraq, along with any illusions she might have had about the glory of war.

“I think I was a little bit naïve to what combat was really like,” she told me in an interview on Sunday. “When you’re training, you don’t really imagine that you could be holding a dying boy in your arms. You don’t think about what death is like close up.

“There’s nothing heroic about war. It’s very tragic. It’s very sad. It takes a huge emotional toll.”

Still, she said, there was much about her experience in Iraq that she was grateful for.

“Nobody in the film is asking for pity or sympathy,” she said. “We’re just saying we had this experience and it changed our lives, and we’re coping with it.”

The term “alive day” is being used by G.I.’s to refer to the day that they came frighteningly close to dying from war wounds, but somehow managed to survive. There are legions of them.

Miraculous advances in emergency medicine, communication and transportation are enabling 90 percent of the G.I.’s wounded in Iraq to survive their wounds, although many are facing a lifetime of suffering.

It’s become a cliché to talk about the courage of the soldiers and marines struggling to overcome their horrendous injuries, but it’s a cliché embedded in the truth. Sergeant Anderson, a chatty onetime athlete, is doing his best to put together a reasonably satisfactory life without his legs or his left hand, and with a damaged right hand

He told Mr. Gandolfini, “If I didn’t have my hand, if I lost both my hands, I’d really think, you know, it wouldn’t be worth it to be around.”

He has a wry take on the term “alive day.”

“Everybody makes a big deal about your alive day, especially at Walter Reed,” he said. “And I can see their point, that you’d want to celebrate something like that. But from my point of view, it’s like, ‘O.K., we’re sitting here celebrating the worst day of my life. Great, let’s just remind me of that every year.’ ”

Last year HBO produced a harrowing documentary called “Baghdad E.R.” that showed the relentless effort of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to save as many lives as possible from what amounted to a nonstop conveyor belt of G.I.’s wounded in combat. At the time, Shelia Nevins, the head of documentary programming at the network, said, “We tried to put a human face on the war.”

They’ve done it again with “Alive Day Memories,” which is scheduled to premiere Sept. 9.

There are no politics in either production. They are neither pro- nor anti-war.

But the intense focus on the humanity of the men and women caught up in the chaos of Iraq, and the incredible sacrifices some of them have had to make, is an implicit argument in favor of a more thoughtful, cautious, less hubristic approach to matters of war and peace.




Suicide rate increases among U.S. soldiers
WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A new U.S. Army report reveals the suicide rate among soldiers is on the rise, CNN reported Thursday.
The study said failed relationships, legal woes, financial problems and occupational/operational issues are the main reasons why an increasing number of soldiers are taking their own lives.
While 79 soldiers committed suicide in 2003, 88 killed themselves in 2005 and 99 died at their own hands last year.
Another two suspected suicides from 2006 are under investigation.
The only year that saw a drop was 2004, in which 67 soldiers committed suicide.
Most of the dead were members of infantry units who killed themselves with firearms.
CNN said demographic differences and varying stress factors make it difficult to compare the military suicide rate to that of civilians.
In 2006, the overall suicide rate for the United States was 13.4 per 100,000 people. It was 21.1 per 100,000 people for all men aged 17 to 45, compared to a rate of 17.8 for men in the Army.
The overall rate was 5.46 per 100,000 for women, compared to an Army rate of 11.3 women soldiers per 100,000.
August 16, 2007

Illinois: Illegal Immigrant Leaving Sanctuary
An illegal immigrant who took refuge in a Chicago church a year ago to escape deportation said she planned to leave her sanctuary soon to lobby Congress for immigration changes, even if that means risking arrest. The immigrant, Elvira Arellano, 32, has said she feared being separated from her 8-year-old son, Saul, when she asked the Adalberto United Methodist Church for help, but she said she planned to leave on Sept. 12 to travel to Washington. Ms. Arellano came to the United States illegally from Mexico in 1997, was deported, but then returned. She moved to Illinois in 2000.
August 16, 2007

Bolivia: Coca Leaves Predict Castro Recovery
A consultation of coca leaves by Aymara Indian shamans presages the recovery of Fidel Castro, according to Cuba’s ambassador to Bolivia. “The Comandante is enjoying a recovery,” Rafael Dausá, the ambassador, told Bolivia’s state news agency after attending the ceremony in El Alto, the heavily indigenous city near the capital, La Paz. Pointing to Cuba’s warming ties to Bolivia, as the leftist president, Evo Morales, settles into his second year in power, Mr. Dausá said, “Being in Bolivia today means being in the leading trench in the anti-imperialist struggle in Latin America.” Bolivia and Cuba, together with Venezuela, have forged a political and economic alliance called the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas.
August 16, 2007

Long-Studied Giant Star Displays Huge Cometlike Tail
August 16, 2007

Storm Victims Sue Over Trailers
NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 8 (AP) — More than 500 hurricane survivors living in government-issued trailers and mobile homes are taking the manufacturers of the structures to court.
In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in New Orleans, the hurricane survivors accused the makers of using inferior materials in a profit-driven rush to build the temporary homes. The lawsuit asserts that thousands of Louisiana residents displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 were exposed to dangerous levels of formaldehyde by living in the government-issued trailers and mobile homes.
And, it accuses 14 manufacturers that supplied the Federal Emergency Management Agency with trailers of cutting corners in order to quickly fill the shortage after the storms.
Messages left with several of those companies were not immediately returned.
FEMA, which is not named as a defendant in this suit, has agreed to have the air quality tested in some of the trailers.
August 9, 2007

British Criticize U.S. Air Attacks in Afghan Region
August 9, 2007

Army Expected to Meet Recruiting Goal
After failing to meet its recruiting goal for two consecutive months, the Army is expected to announce that it met its target for July. Officials are offering a new $20,000 bonus to recruits who sign up by the end of September. A preliminary tally shows that the Army most likely met its goal of 9,750 recruits for last month, a military official said on the condition of anonymity because the numbers will not be announced for several more days. The Army expects to meet its recruiting goal of 80,000 for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, the official said.
August 8, 2007

Beach Closings and Advisories
The number of United States beaches declared unsafe for swimming reached a record last year, with more than 25,000 cases where shorelines were closed or health advisories issued, the Natural Resources Defense Council reported, using data from the Environmental Protection Agency. The group said the likely culprit was sewage and contaminated runoff from water treatment systems. “Aging and poorly designed sewage and storm water systems hold much of the blame for beach water pollution,” it said. The number of no-swim days at 3,500 beaches along the oceans, bays and Great Lakes doubled from 2005. The report is online at
August 8, 2007

Finland: 780-Year-Old Pine Tree Found
Scientists have discovered a 780-year-old Scots pine, the oldest living forest pine known in Finland, the Finnish Forest Research Institute said. The tree was found last year in Lapland during a study mission on forest fires, the institute said, and scientists analyzed a section of the trunk to determine its age. “The pine is living, but it is not in the best shape,” said Tuomo Wallenius, a researcher. “It’s quite difficult to say how long it will survive.” The tree is inside the strip of land on the eastern border with Russia where access is strictly prohibited.
August 8, 2007

The Bloody Failure of ‘The Surge’: A Special Report
by Patrick Cockburn

Sean Penn applauds as Venezuela's Chavez rails against Bush
The Associated Press
August 2, 2007

California: Gore’s Son Pleads Guilty to Drug Charges
Al Gore III, son of the former vice president, pleaded guilty to possessing marijuana and other drugs, but a judge said the plea could be withdrawn and the charges dropped if Mr. Gore, left, completed a drug program. The authorities have said they found drugs in Mr. Gore’s car after he was pulled over on July 4 for driving 100 miles an hour. He pleaded guilty to two felony counts of drug possession, two misdemeanor counts of drug possession without a prescription and one misdemeanor count of marijuana possession, the district attorney’s office said. Mr. Gore, 24, has been at a live-in treatment center since his arrest, said Allan Stokke, his lawyer.
July 31, 2007

United Parcel Service Agrees to Benefits in Civil Unions
July 31, 2007

John Stewart demands the Bay View retract the truth, Editorial by Willie Ratcliff,

Minister to Supervisors: Stop Lennar, assess the people’s health by Minister Christopher Muhammad,

OPD shoots unarmed 15-year-old in the back in East Oakland by Minister of Information JR,

California: Raids on Marijuana Clinics
Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided 10 medical marijuana clinics in Los Angles County just as Los Angeles city leaders backed a measure calling for an end to the federal government’s crackdown on the dispensaries. Federal officials made five arrests and seized large quantities of marijuana and cash after serving clinics with search warrants, said a spokeswoman, Sarah Pullen. Ms. Pullen refused to disclose other details. The raid, the agency’s second largest on marijuana dispensaries, came the same day the Los Angeles City Council introduced an interim ordinance calling on federal authorities to stop singling out marijuana clinics allowed under state law.
July 26, 2007




Stop the Termination or the Cherokee Nation


USLAW Endorses September 15 Antiwar Demonstration in Washington, DC
USLAW Leadership Urges Labor Turnout
to Demand End to Occupation in Iraq, Hands Off Iraqi Oil

By a referendum ballot of members of the Steering Committee of U.S. Labor Against the War, USLAW is now officially on record endorsing and encouraging participation in the antiwar demonstration called by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition in Washington, DC on September 15. The demonstration is timed to coincide with a Congressional vote scheduled in late September on a new Defense Department appropriation that will fund the Iraq War through the end of Bush's term in office.

U.S. Labor Against the War

Stop the Iraq Oil Law

2007 Iraq Labor Solidarity Tour



This is a modern day lynching"--Marcus Jones, father of Mychal Bell


P.O. BOX 1890
FAX: (318) 992-8701


Sign the NAACP's Online Petition to the Governor of Louisiana and Attorney General

TIME: 9:00AM
MONROE RESIDENTS: 318.801.0513
JENA RESIDENTS: 318.419.6441
Send Donations to the Jena 6 Defense Fund:
Jena 6 Defense Committee
P.O. Box 2798
Jena, Louisiana 71342


Young Black males the target of small-town racism
By Jesse Muhammad
Staff Writer
"JENA, La. ( - Marcus Jones, the father of 16-year-old Jena High School football star Mychal Bell, pulls out a box full of letters from countless major colleges and universities in America who are trying to recruit his son. Mr. Jones, with hurt in his voice, says, “He had so much going for him. My son is innocent and they have done him wrong.”

An all-White jury convicted Mr. Bell of two felonies—aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery—and faces up to 22 years in prison when he is sentenced on July 31. Five other young Black males are also awaiting their day in court for alleged attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder charges evolving from a school fight: Robert Bailey, 17; Theo Shaw, 17; Carwin Jones, 18; Bryant Purvis, 17; and Jesse Beard, 15. Together, this group has come to be known as the “Jena 6.”
Updated Jul 22, 2007

My Letter to Judge Mauffray:

P.O. BOX 1890


Dear Judge Mauffray,

I am appalled to learn of the conviction of 16-year-old Jena High School football star Mychal Bell and the arrest of five other young Black men who are awaiting their day in court for alleged attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder charges evolving from a school fight. These young men, Mychal Bell, 16; Robert Bailey, 17; Theo Shaw, 17; Carwin Jones, 18; Bryant Purvis, 17; and Jesse Beard, 15, who have come to be known as the “Jena 6” have the support of thousands of people around the country who want to see them free and back in school.

Clearly, two different standards are in place in Jena—one standard for white students who go free even though they did, indeed, make a death threat against Black students—the hanging of nooses from a tree that only white students are allowed to sit under—and another set of rules for those that defended themselves against these threats. The nooses were hung after Black students dared to sit in the shade of that “white only” tree!

If the court is sincerely interested in justice, it will drop the charges against all of these six students, reinstate them back into school and insist that the school teach the white students how wrong they were and still are for their racist attitudes and violent threats! It is the duty of the schools to uphold the constitution and the bill of rights. A hanging noose or burning cross is just like a punch in the face or worse so says the Supreme Court! Further, it is an act of vigilantism and has no place in a “democracy”.

The criminal here is white racism, not a few young men involved in a fistfight!
I am a 62-year-old white woman who grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Fistfights among teenagers—as you certainly must know yourself—are a right of passage. Please don’t tell me you have never gotten into one. Even I picked a few fights with a few girls outside of school for no good reason. (We soon, in fact, became fast friends.) Children are not just smaller sized adults. They are children and go through this. The fistfight is normal and expected behavior that adults can use to educate children about the negative effect of the use of violence to solve disputes. That is what adults are supposed to do.

Hanging nooses in a tree because you hate Black people is not normal at all! It is a deep sickness that our schools and courts are responsible for unless they educate and act against it. This means you must overturn the conviction of Mychal Bell and drop the cases against Robert Bailey, Theo Shaw, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis, and Jesse Beard.

It also means you must take responsibility to educate white teachers, administrators, students and their families against racism and order them to refrain from their racist behavior from here on out—and make sure it is carried out!
You are supposed to defend the students who want to share the shade of a leafy green tree not persecute them—that is the real crime that has been committed here!


Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War


"They have a new gimmick every year. They're going to take one of their boys, black boys, and put him in the cabinet so he can walk around Washington with a cigar. Fire on one end and fool on the other end. And because his immediate personal problem will have been solved he will be the one to tell our people: 'Look how much progress we're making. I'm in Washington, D.C., I can have tea in the White House. I'm your spokesman, I'm your leader.' While our people are still living in Harlem in the slums. Still receiving the worst form of education.

"But how many sitting here right now feel that they could [laughs] truly identify with a struggle that was designed to eliminate the basic causes that create the conditions that exist? Not very many. They can jive, but when it comes to identifying yourself with a struggle that is not endorsed by the power structure, that is not acceptable, that the ground rules are not laid down by the society in which you live, in which you are struggling against, you can't identify with that, you step back.

"It's easy to become a satellite today without even realizing it. This country can seduce God. Yes, it has that seductive power of economic dollarism. You can cut out colonialism, imperialism and all other kind of ism, but it's hard for you to cut that dollarism. When they drop those dollars on you, you'll fold though."

—MALCOLM X, 1965


Youtube interview with the DuPage County Activists Who Were Arrested for Bannering
You can watch an interview with the two DuPage County antiwar activists
who arrested after bannering over the expressway online at:

Please help spread the word about this interview, and if you haven't
already done so, please contact the DuPage County State's attorney, Joe
Birkett, to demand that the charges against Jeff Zurawski and Sarah
Heartfield be dropped. The contact information for Birkett is:

Joseph E. Birkett, State's Attorney
503 N. County Farm Road
Wheaton, IL 60187
Phone: (630) 407-8000
Fax: (630) 407-8151
Please forward this information far and wide.

My Letter:

Joseph E. Birkett, State's Attorney
503 N. County Farm Road
Wheaton, IL 60187
Phone: (630) 407-8000
Fax: (630) 407-8151

Dear State's Attorney Birkett,

The news of the arrest of Jeff Zurawski and Sarah Heartfield is getting out far and wide. Their arrest is outrageous! Not only should all charges be dropped against Jeff and Sarah, but a clear directive should be given to Police Departments everywhere that this kind of harassment of those who wish to practice free speech will not be tolerated.

The arrest of Jeff and Sarah was the crime. The display of their message was an act of heroism!

We demand you drop all charges against Jeff Zurawski and Sarah Heartfield NOW!


Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War,, San Francisco, California


A little gem:
Michael Moore Faces Off With Stephen Colbert [VIDEO]


LAPD vs. Immigrants (Video)


Dr. Julia Hare at the SOBA 2007


"We are far from that stage today in our era of the absolute
lie; the complete and totalitarian lie, spread by the
monopolies of press and radio to imprison social
consciousness." December 1936, "In 'Socialist' Norway,"
by Leon Trotsky: “Leon Trotsky in Norway” was transcribed
for the Internet by Per I. Matheson [References from
original translation removed]


Wealth Inequality Charts


MALCOLM X: Oxford University Debate


Animated Video Preview
Narrated by Peter Coyote
Is now on YouTube and Google Video

We are planning on making the ADDICTED To WAR movie.
Can you let me know what you think about this animated preview?
Do you think it would work as a full length film?
Please send your response to:
Fdorrel@sbcglobal. net or Fdorrel@Addictedtow

In Peace,

Frank Dorrel
Addicted To War
P.O. Box 3261
Culver City, CA 90231-3261
fdorrel@sbcglobal. net
www.addictedtowar. com

For copies of the book:

Frank Dorrel
P.O. BOX 3261
CULVER CITY, CALIF. 90231-3261
$10.00 per copy (Spanish or English); special bulk rates
can be found at:


"There comes a times when silence is betrayal."
--Martin Luther King


YouTube clip of Che before the UN in 1964


The Wealthiest Americans Ever
NYT Interactive chart
JULY 15, 2007


New Orleans After the Flood -- A Photo Gallery
This email was sent to you as a service, by Roland Sheppard.
Visit my website at:



The National Council of Arab Americans (NCA) demands the immediate
release of political prisoner, Dr. Sami Al-Arian. Although
Dr. Al-Arian is no longer on a hunger strike we must still demand
he be released by the US Department of Justice (DOJ). After an earlier
plea agreement that absolved Dr. Al-Arian from any further questioning,
he was sentenced up to 18 months in jail for refusing to testify before
a grand jury in Virginia. He has long sense served his time yet
Dr. Al-Arian is still being held. Release him now!



We ask all people of conscience to demand the immediate
release and end to Dr. Al- Arian's suffering.

Call, Email and Write:

1- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Fax Number: (202) 307-6777

2- The Honorable John Conyers, Jr
2426 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-5126
(202) 225-0072 Fax

3- Senator Patrick Leahy
433 Russell Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

4- Honorable Judge Gerald Lee
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
401 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, VA 22314
March 22, 2007
[No email]

National Council of Arab Americans (NCA)

Criminalizing Solidarity: Sami Al-Arian and the War of
By Charlotte Kates, The Electronic Intifada, 4 April 2007


Robert Fisk: The true story of free speech in America
This systematic censorship of Middle East reality
continues even in schools
Published: 07 April 2007
http://news. independent. fisk/article2430 125.ece


[For some levity...Hans Groiner plays Monk]


Excerpt of interview between Barbara Walters and Hugo Chavez


Which country should we invade next?

My Favorite Mutiny, The Coup

Michael Moore- The Awful Truth

Morse v. Frederick Supreme Court arguments

Free Speech 4 Students Rally - Media Montage


'My son lived a worthwhile life'
In April 2003, 21-year old Tom Hurndall was shot in the head
in Gaza by an Israeli soldier as he tried to save the lives of three
small children. Nine months later, he died, having never
recovered consciousness. Emine Saner talks to his mother
Jocelyn about her grief, her fight to make the Israeli army
accountable for his death and the book she has written
in his memory.
Monday March 26, 2007
The Guardian,,2042968,00.html


Introducing...................the Apple iRack


"A War Budget Leaves Every Child Behind."
[A T-shirt worn by some teachers at Roosevelt High School
in L.A. as part of their campaign to rid the school of military
recruiters and JROTC--see Article in Full item number 4,]




Defend the Los Angeles Eight!


George Takai responds to Tim Hardaway's homophobic remarks




Another view of the war. A link from Amer Jubran


Petition: Halt the Blue Angels


A Girl Like Me
7:08 min
Youth Documentary
Kiri Davis, Director, Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, Producer
Winner of the Diversity Award
Sponsored by Third Millennium Foundation


Film/Song about Angola


"200 million children in the world sleep in the streets today.
Not one of them is Cuban."
(A sign in Havana)
View sign at bottom of page at:
[Thanks to Norma Harrison for sending]



"Cheyenne and Arapaho oral histories hammer history's account of the
Sand Creek Massacre"

CENTENNIAL, CO -- A new documentary film based on an award-winning
documentary short film, "The Sand Creek Massacre", and driven by
Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho people who tell their version about
what happened during the Sand Creek Massacre via their oral
histories, has been released by Olympus Films+, LLC, a Centennial,
Colorado film company.

"You have done an extraordinary job" said Margie Small, Tobient
Entertainment, " on the Colorado PBS episode, the library videos for
public schools and libraries, the trailer, etc...and getting the
story told and giving honor to those ancestors who had to witness
this tragic and brutal is one of the best ways."

"The images shown in the film were selected for native awareness
value" said Donald L. Vasicek, award-winning writer/filmmaker, "we
also focused on preserving American history on film because tribal
elders are dying and taking their oral histories with them. The film
shows a non-violent solution to problem-solving and 19th century
Colorado history, so it's multi-dimensional in that sense. "

Chief Eugene Blackbear, Sr., Cheyenne, who starred as Chief Black
Kettle in "The Last of the Dogmen" also starring Tom Berenger and
Barbara Hershey and "Dr. Colorado", Tom Noel, University of Colorado
history professor, are featured.

The trailer can be viewed and the film can be ordered for $24.95 plus
$4.95 for shipping and handling at

Vasicek's web site,, provides detailed
information about the Sand Creek Massacre including various still
images particularly on the Sand Creek Massacre home page and on the
proposal page.

Olympus Films+, LLC is dedicated to writing and producing quality
products that serve to educate others about the human condition.


Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC
7078 South Fairfax Street
Centennial, CO 80122,+Don


Join us in a campaign to expose and stop the use
of these illegal weapons


You may enjoy watching these.
In struggle


FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein


[The Scab
"After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad,
and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with
which he made a scab."
"A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul,
a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue.
Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten
principles." "When a scab comes down the street,
men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and
the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out."
"No man (or woman) has a right to scab so long as there
is a pool of water to drown his carcass in,
or a rope long enough to hang his body with.
Judas was a gentleman compared with a scab.
For betraying his master, he had character enough
to hang himself." A scab has not.
"Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.
Judas sold his Savior for thirty pieces of silver.
Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of
a commision in the british army."
The scab sells his birthright, country, his wife,
his children and his fellowmen for an unfulfilled
promise from his employer.
Esau was a traitor to himself; Judas was a traitor
to his God; Benedict Arnold was a traitor to his country;
a scab is a traitor to his God, his country,
his family and his class."
Author --- Jack London (1876-1916)...Roland Sheppard]


Stop funding Israel's war against Palestine
Complete the form at the website listed below with your information.


Sand Creek Massacre
(scroll down when you get there])

On November 29, 1864, 700 Colorado troops savagely slaughtered
over 450 Cheyenne children, disabled, elders, and women in the
southeastern Colorado Territory under its protection. This act
became known as the Sand Creek Massacre. This film project
("The Sand Creek Massacre" documentary film project) is an
examination of an open wound in the souls of the Cheyenne
people as told from their perspective. This project chronicles
that horrific 19th century event and its affect on the 21st century
struggle for respectful coexistence between white and native
plains cultures in the United States of America.

Listed below are links on which you can click to get the latest news,
products, and view, free, "THE SAND CREEK MASSACRE" award-
winning documentary short. In order to create more native
awareness, particularly to save the roots of America's history,
please read the following:

Some people in America are trying to save the world. Bless
them. In the meantime, the roots of America are dying.
What happens to a plant when the roots die? The plant dies
according to my biology teacher in high school. American's
roots are its native people. Many of America's native people
are dying from drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, hunger,
and disease, which was introduced to them by the Caucasian
male. Tribal elders are dying. When they die, their oral
histories go with them. Our native's oral histories are the
essence of the roots of America, what took place before
our ancestors came over to America, what is taking place,
and what will be taking place. It is time we replenish
America's roots with native awareness, else America
continues its decaying, and ultimately, its death.

READY FOR PURCHASE! (pass the word about this powerful
educational tool to friends, family, schools, parents, teachers,
and other related people and organizations to contact
me (, 303-903-2103) for information
about how they can purchase the DVD and have me come
to their children's school to show the film and to interact
in a questions and answers discussion about the Sand
Creek Massacre.

Happy Holidays!

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC,+Don

(scroll down when you get there])